Iowa Writes

Paper Children

My friend dreamt that I wrote a stack of poems,
one for each child I didn't bear.
She dreamt it over and over through the night. 
How prolific of me to pen so many darlings. 
I imagine Emily Dickinson, sheets of paper clinging to her skirt for attention. 
I wonder if my poems had ten lines, each perfect. 
Did I stroke them as I presented them,
feeling the downy heavy bond against my fingertips?
Did I nurture them, returning to them each day with a watchful diligence
until they were ready to go out into the world? 
Oh, my mixture of excitement and dread as I dressed them in envelopes,
sure to include a SASE so they could find their way home.
How long after they were gone did I feel the urge to write again?
How quickly I succumbed to the delicious sensation, teasing out words until they exploded into images and spilled forth onto the page.
How like those other mothers, I,
spent by creation, with my mysterious smile, my child pride.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


Ellen Birkett Morris is an honorary Iowan each summer when she attends the summer writing festival.  Her poetry has appeared in Juked, The Centrifugal Eye, The Rambler, Ruminate, The Pedestal Magazine, The Heartland Review, and Alimentum.  Her work has been included in The Binnacle Ultra-Short Edition and was winner of the top prize in 2008. In 2006, her poem, "Origins," was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

This page was first displayed
on May 07, 2009

Find us on Facebook